Prom behind the scenes


Did you know that it takes over 250 hours of work to make Prom happen? Prom is a big production, and many memories are made on that night, so it has to be perfect. But what work has to be done for Prom that takes so much time? Who puts in all of those hours? Mrs. Fitzpatrick is the spearhead of Prom; she alone puts in around 75 hours of her own time to arrange Prom for Larned High School. However, she isn’t the only one putting in the work; she has help from Mrs. Pontius, Mr. Apley, and Mr. Upson, and the junior class sponsors. The Prom committee, composed of juniors, helps out as well. 

One of the biggest pieces of Prom is bringing the theme to life. Mrs. Fitzpatrick has been helping with Prom for 23 years now, so she is definitely a professional at this part. First, she helps the Prom Committee decide on a theme. Mrs. Fitzpatrick has never had the same Prom theme twice! Usually, the themes alternate between fun and fancy every other year. The committee must discuss types of decorations and colors; this part of the project can be fun because these juniors have been fundraising for three years now, and they finally get to use that money to make their Prom dreams a reality. After the basic decisions have been made, Mrs. Fitz takes her own time to make these ideas come to life. She has to be smart about how she uses the funds the class has accumulated to best turn the inspiration into reality. 

Mr. Upson helps to be sure that all of the juniors are keeping busy and getting things done. Mr. Upson has been helping with Prom for 20 years and he says, “My favorite part of Prom is getting to work with the kids and building something that the kids are proud of.” Behind the scenes, Mr. Upson builds sets for the pictures and props for decorations. Often buying sets online costs a lot of money, but when Mrs. Fitz is working on a set budget, having someone to build the sets, rather than buy them, helps the money go further.

Once all of the decorations have been delivered, it is time to get to work. Prom is the ultimate group project, and the entire junior class is responsible for getting the work done on time. They begin work one week before Prom. Mrs. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Pontius set dates and times to get together, and juniors are expected to show up and get to work. Mrs. Fitzpatrick divvies out tasks to the junior workers, and they get started on them. When we asked Mrs. Fitz about how she manages to pull off the perfect Prom every year, she told us, “I have to have a vision of what Prom is going to look like, and I have to find and order everything to make that happen. Then, I have to get the juniors to set everything up like how I’m envisioning.” This can be a daunting task, and occasionally decorations must be torn down and redone because they haven’t turned out just right. 

The parents of Prom deserve some recognition as well. Many parents help with After Prom, but parents are also vital to the dance portion. Some of the moms aid in pouring drinks for the students and refilling their glasses. The dads are the volunteer valet crew. The dads prevent bad parking and door dings. When a couple pulls up to Prom, they get out, take pictures, and then hand their keys over and head inside to the Promenade. 

Everyone hears all about the work that is put into this party, but what about the workers? Prom wouldn’t be the same without the sophomore servers that help out. Sophomores that wish to be servers must be in good standing as well as be chosen in order to help out. They help with the final touch ups of prom, and then they get to serve the juniors and seniors their meal before the dance happens. The sophomores are required to dress nicely in accordance to the theme of Prom. The servers must be very careful while serving; if one of them messes up, all of the servers are kicked out of the party and don’t get to participate in the dance. 

After the lights come on and everyone is ushered to After Prom, the Prom Sponsors and servers help take some of the decorations down. In order to completely tear down the party, the sophomore prom servers return the Sunday afterwards and help the sponsors clean up for around an hour. Once they have helped clean up, the caffeinated juniors arrive and take care of cleaning up the rest of it, and they return decorations to their storage compartments where they will remain until next year, when it’s done all over again!